Deviled Chicken Livers on Toast with Watercress

I love to serve this dish on thick toasted bread to soak up the sauce. It’s so simple and very budget friendly, If chicken livers are not your cup of tea, you can certainly substitute mushrooms for the livers in this recipe. Most liver is prepared for you these days, but it’s important to remove any white sinewy strings or yellow bits before cooking. Chicken livers are quite rich, so a little devilling with pepper and spices is a great approach. The essential part of sautéing livers is not to overcook them, but to keep them nice and pink in the middle. That way you will enjoy eating them so much more. This dish makes for a really good lunch or supper dish, or a starter for two or more people.

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:
2 heaped tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon English mustard powder
A pinch of cayenne pepper
1 pound chicken livers, trimmed of any sinew and discolouration
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ tablespoon sherry vinegar
Few splashes Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 pieces of sourdough or cibatta bread
1 bunch watercress, trimmed, washed and dried
Splash of olive oil
½ tablespoon capers (optional)
A handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
Mix the flour, mustard powder, cayenne and salt and pepper. Put into a flat dish and toss the chicken livers in the mixture. Dust off any excess and put them on a plate in one layer.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan on a high heat. When it is hot, add the chicken livers. When they are all sizzling nicely, turn the heat down a little – you want enough heat to create a crisp coat but not so much that they char. Turn after 2 minutes and cook the other side for 2 minutes.

Lift the livers out on to a warm plate and quickly add to the pan the sherry vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Let these simmer for a moment, then add the chicken stock and stir to deglaze the pan and capture all the flavors. Once the stock has reduced a little, add the butter and swirl it into the stock.

Toast the bread. Dress the watercress with the olive oil, seasoning and capers.

Return the livers to the pan and let them fry for a minute. Throw in the parsley

To serve, place a slice of toast on a plate. Pile the watercress on to the warm toast and spoon the livers and the sauce on top.

devilled-chicken-livers2

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Sticky Toffee and Earl Grey Pudding

Sticky Toffee and Earl Grey Pudding
Photo Credit: Victor Protasio, Food&Wine Magazine, 2019.

 

This classic English dessert features dates which are often found in regular in sticky toffee pudding recipes. In this recipe, Medjool dates are steeped in Earl Grey tea, infusing them with the bright, aromatic lift of bergamot. It is the perfect dessert to serve at the end of a meal.

Adapted From
Merlin Labron-Johnson
Food&Wine Magazine
February, 2019

Serves 9

Ingredients:
2 cups pitted Medjool dates, finely chopped
2 Earl Grey tea bags
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups boiling water
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt, divided
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup light muscovado sugar, divided
3/4 cup dark muscovado sugar, divided
3 large eggs
1 cup unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
1 cup heavy cream
Vanilla ice cream, for serving
Fresh Sprint Sprigs, for garnish

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place dates, tea bags, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Add 1 1/4 cups boiling water, and let stand 15 minutes. Remove and discard tea bags. Stir mixture with a fork to break apart dates.

Stir together flour, baking powder, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Combine shortening, 1/4 cup light muscovado sugar, and 1/4 cup dark muscovado sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed until no lumps remain, about 1 minute. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. With mixer running on low speed, gradually add flour mixture just until incorporated. Stir in date mixture. Lightly grease a 9-inch square baking pan with butter. Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center of pudding comes out clean, 30 to 32 minutes.

Remove pudding from oven, and immediately prick all over with a wooden or metal skewer, piercing all the way to the bottom of pan. Pour 1 1/2 cups warm toffee sauce evenly over pudding, and let stand until sauce is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Cut warm pudding into 9 (3-inch) squares.

Top servings with ice cream  and  drizzle evenly with remaining 1/2 cup toffee sauce. For a festive touch, garnish with a sprig of mint, if desired.

Cook’s Notes:
Muscovado sugar is an unrefined sugar made from sugar cane. It comes in varieties from very dark to light. The main difference between muscovado sugar and granulated sugars is the moisture content. Muscovado sugar is noticeably moister, and the crystals stick together in clumps. It has a taste similar to fudge or caramel.

Dark or light brown sugar or granulated sugar with molasses or treacle can be used as substitutes for muscovado sugar. For 1 cup of dark muscovado sugar, use 1 cup granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons of molasses or treacle. For light muscovado sugar, reduce the molasses to 1 tablespoon.


Chicken Liver Mousse

mouusse

 

Thanks to the “yuck” reaction that offal provokes, and the tedious predictability of their cooking treatment, chicken livers don’t top most people’s shopping lists. That’s a shame, because when nicely cooked (seared on the outside, still rosy within), with their robust, meaty character balanced by another big flavor (think vinegar, pomegranate molasses, bacon, marsala, tart berries), and perhaps freshened up at the last moment with salad leaves and fresh herbs, they make most rewarding eating.And they are affordable if you are trying to stretch a budget.

Chicken livers are high in protein and a rich store of folate, which is important for fertility and helps prevent certain birth defects. (it is advised that pregnant women not  eat liver because too much vitamin A can harm the baby.) Livers are also loaded with iron to give you energy and a treasure trove of certain B vitamins, most notably B12. This nutritional profile makes them a good choice for anyone prone to anemia. Chicken livers are also one of the top sources of vitamin A, which helps eye health.

Supermarkets sell containers or packs of fresh chicken livers for around $2.49/lb. But because the richness of chicken livers means that just a few will go a long way, you can probably afford to trade up for the best. Expect to pay around £8-10/lb for organic livers, either at the farmer’s market or a specialty gourmet market.

Serves 12

Ingredients:
5 pounds chicken livers, soaked 12 hours or overnight in milk
5 cups heavy cream
½ cup Cognac
Salt, to taste
Micro herbs or edible flowers, for garnish

Directions:
Heat oven to 300°F.

Purée livers, cream, Cognac and salt in a blender until smooth, then pour mixture into a baking pan and place pan inside a larger pan. Fill the larger pan with water, cover with foil and bake until a thermometer inserted into mousse registers 155°F.

Remove mousse from oven, remove small baking pan from large pan and place on wire rack to cool. Once cooled, reserve in refrigerator.

To serve, spread mousse over toasted bread or crackers. Garnish with herbs, greens or edible flowers.

Cook’s Note:
To make mousse light and fluffy, whip with mixer before serving.